10 Best Strength Exercises For Your At Home Pull Workouts

Strength training workouts can be split down into several different forms, such as upper body vs lower body, 4-day workout split, compound vs isolation etc. How you choose your workout style very much depends on your goals.  

For example, in a four-day training split, you can focus on training each muscle group whilst allowing for plenty of recovery time.  

Another type of training split is that of a push-pull workout.  This involves splitting your training up into push days and pull days.  

What Is A Push Pull Workout?

A push day workout is to focus on pushing exercises such the shoulder press or bench press that target the chest, triceps and anterior delts.  Conversely, a pull day workout is to perform pulling movements, such as the barbell row, that work the back, biceps, and forearms.  

The legs are often worked out on a separate day due to the energy expenditure involved when training legs and the amount of recovery time needed.  However, legs can still be included as part of your push and pull days especially if you train with lighter weights and don’t require as much recovery time.  

In this article we’re going to suggest some exercises that you can incorporate into your pull workouts.  You won’t need much in the way of equipment meaning they are ideal to perform at home (or in the gym if you prefer).  

At Home Pull Workouts

Below are some of the best pull exercises that you can incorporate into your pull workout routine helping you to work the muscles at the back of your upper body.  In some cases, you will need either some resistance bands or dumbbells and access to a weight bench.  

latissimus dorsi exercise

Upper Body Pull Exercises

Dumbbell Trap Shrug

The dumbbell shrug will primarily target the upper back muscles, specifically the traps.  You’ll need a pair of dumbbells for this exercise to add some resistance.  You can perform this movement with a barbell if you like however, the bar can sometimes impede your movement.  

How To Do The Shrug Exercise:
  1. Start by standing with your feet shoulder width apart and holding a dumbbell in each hand.
  2. Hold the dumbbells down by your sides with a neutral grip (palms facing inwards). 
  3. Engage your abs and shrug your shoulders up towards your ears. 
  4. Make sure you don’t bend at the elbows.  
  5. Pause for 2 seconds and lower your shoulders back down. 
  6. Repeat this movement for 4 sets of 8 to 10 repetitions. 

Banded Lateral Raise 

The lateral raise exercise will work the middle part of the deltoid muscles and the benefit of performing this exercise with a resistance band is that tension increases throughout the movement making it progressively more challenging.  

Another factor that impacts band tension is your foot placement.  Positioning the feet wider apart will create more resistance thus make it more difficult.  

How To Do The Banded Lateral Raise: 
  1. Take two resistance bands and place one over each foot and take hold of them with the opposite hand.  
  2. Adopt an upright stance with a slight lean forward of your torso.  Your shoulders be in line with the resistance of the band.  This is your starting position.  
  3. Brace your core and start to pull the bands up and out to your sides.  
  4. Keep your arms straight with a slight bend to the elbows.  
  5. Pause at the top before controlling the movement back down to the start.  
  6. Perform this exercise for 3 sets of 8 to 10 reps.  

​Banded Front Raise

The front raise exercise can be performed either using dumbbells or with bands.  This is an excellent exercise to work the anterior deltoids, that is the front of the shoulder.  

Good form of this movement requires a smooth and controlled movement.  You’ll need an open ended resistance band with a handle on either end.  

How To Do The Banded Front Raise:
  1. Position the band beneath your feet and stand with feet hip-width apart.  
  2. Keep your arms down by your sides. 
  3. From here, raise your arms up and out in front of you by flexing your shoulders. 
  4. Stop when your arms are around parallel to the ground and pause for a second or two. 
  5. Lower back to the start whilst maintaining control. 
  6. Repeat this exercise for 3 sets of 10 repetitions. 

Dumbbell Bent-Over Row

Bent-over rows will activate the muscles of the mid and upper back along with the abdominals, posterior delts and biceps.  The benefit of using dumbbells as opposed to a barbell is that you have an increased range of motion allowing for a more natural movement.  

How To Do The Dumbbell Bent Over Row:
  1. Holding a dumbbell in each hand adopt an upright stance with feet shoulder width apart and knees slightly bent.  
  2. Hinge forward the hips and drive your hips back.  Your torso should be at approximately a 45-degree angle. 
  3. Engage your core and keep your head and chest up with shoulder blades back.  
  4. Keeping your elbows tucked in, pull the dumbbells up and towards your hips.  Make sure to keep your wrists under your elbows throughout. 
  5. Perform between 3 and 5 sets of 6 reps.  

Banded Deltoid Row

The deltoid row exercise, sometimes called face pulls, will work the muscles of the upper back along with rear deltoids.  You’ll need an open resistance band with a handle on either end to perform this exercise. 

How To Do The Banded Deltoid Row:
  1. Start by anchoring your band to a doorway at around shoulder height.  
  2. Take hold of either end of the band and step back away from the door to create tension in the band. 
  3. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and hold the band with your arms straight out in front of you. Ensure there is no sagging in the resistance band.
  4. Pull the band towards your face whilst keeping your elbows up and out.  
  5. Pause and then allow your arms to move back to the start. 
  6. Perform 3 sets of 8 – 12 reps. 

Bicep Curls

Biceps curls will work the front muscles of the upper arms (biceps) and engage the elbow flexor muscles.  You can perform this exercise by using a resistance band or with dumbbells.  It’s a simple exercise to perform and involves just hinging at the elbow joint.  


Recommended Reading – 6 Bicep Long Head vs Short Head Exercises For Intense Arm Growth


When using dumbbells, perform this movement whilst seated as this will allow for a full range of motion and improved bicep isolation.  When lowering the dumbbell, this is known as the eccentric portion of the movement and will help improve muscle hypertrophy and ultimately increase muscle mass.  

How To Do Biceps Curls:    
  1. Take a seat on your weight bench or a chair with a back support. Ensure your back is fully supported.
  2. Keep your feet flat on the ground to provide stability. 
  3. Take hold of the dumbbells with an overhand grip and let them hang down by your sides.  
  4. Engage your core and bend at the elbows bringing the dumbbells up towards your shoulders.  You should feel a stretch across your bicep muscles.    
  5. Maintain stability throughout the rest of your body during the exercise. 
  6. Slowly take the dumbbells back down to the start.
  7. Complete 1 to 2 sets of 12 to 16 reps.

Pull Ups

Pull ups are a challenging exercise that trains the upper back, rear delts, lats and biceps.  Proper form is essential to ensure you reap the most benefit and minimize any chance injury.  You’ll need to have access to a pull-up bar or use a very sturdy doorway for this exercise.  

How To Do Pull Ups:   
  1. Grab hold of the bar with an underhand grip and cross your feet at the ankles. 
  2. Keep your hands shoulder width apart for better activation of the lats and biceps or move them further away for increased upper back engagement. 
  3. Now begin to pull yourself up towards the bar, aiming to get your chin to the height of the bar if possible. 
  4. Without your body swinging or using momentum, slowly lower back down and repeat for 8 full reps.

Lower Body Pull Exercises

As mentioned above, pull day exercises typically center around working the muscles of the upper body.  However, that’s not to say you couldn’t incorporate some leg exercises that involve a pulling movement if you choose to.  

posterior chain

Whilst most leg muscles are activated during a push workout (think squats, lunges and leg presses) there are a few pull exercises that will work the major muscle groups of the posterior chain.  Below are some examples of pull exercises to target the leg muscles.  

Dumbbell Deadlift

The deadlift works many muscles across the entire body with an emphasis on the hamstrings, lower back, and glutes.  Usually, this exercise is performed with a barbell and weight plates.  However, you can easily substitute these for a pair of heavy dumbbells. 

How To Do A Dumbbell Deadlift:
  1. Start by standing with feet shoulder width apart and toes pointing out slightly. 
  2. Push your hips back and hinge forward so you can take hold of the dumbbells, keep your chest and head up. 
  3. Push through your heels and thrust your hips so that you pull the weight off the ground. 
  4. Get all the way to a standing position with hips locked out at the top. 
  5. Repeat steps 3 through to 5. 

Banded Leg Curl

The leg curl exercise is a great isolation exercise to target the hamstrings and calf muscles.  You can either do this exercise lying prone on the ground or on a flat bench.  The tension on the band should increase as you raise your feet giving a good stretch to the hamstrings.  

How To Do The Banded Leg Curl:
  1. Anchor a resistance band to the bottom of a door. 
  2. Lie on the floor, face down. 
  3. Hook the band around the back of your ankles. 
  4. Shuffle forwards slightly to create some tension in the band. 
  5. Raise your feet up towards the ceiling until your knees are bent to 90 degrees. 
  6. Lower back to the start and repeat. 

Banded Pull Through

The pull through exercise is a great way of working the glutes, hamstrings and lower back muscles and makes for a good alternative to the deadlift.  It can also help to improve flexibility and strength to the hip flexors.  

How To Do A Banded Pull Through:
  1. Anchor your resistance band to the bottom of a door.  
  2. Stand with your back to the door and take hold of the band with both hands and bring it through your legs.  
  3. Step forward enough to create a little tension in the band. 
  4. From here, adopt a shoulder width foot stance keeping your head and chest up with a slight bend to the knees.  
  5. Push the hips back and then drive them forwards to extension.  
  6. Squeeze the glutes at the top of the movement and then hinge forwards again dropping your hips back. 
  7. Repeat for the desired number of reps. 

Conclusion

Home workouts have become more popular over the years and the equipment available means you can easily perform resistance-based workouts helping you to increase your strength and muscle mass whilst improving joint mobility and health.  

By splitting your training into push and pull workouts you can be sure to effectively train all muscles groups whilst allowing for plenty of time for your muscles to rest and recover ready for your next workout session.  

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